Often when going through a 12-step program and others based off Alcoholics Anonymous people get lost at the notion of turning to “higher power”. For someone who is seeking treatment and pushed down a 12-step program the main criteria includes a desire to recovery, membership, and attendance of meetings and participation in the community, but also believing in a “higher power”.

AA and similar programs are commonly attributed to saving the lives of many people who needed guidance in the pathway of recovery. While this remains true, many people in recovery have a hesitation to higher power, prayer, and confession. In fact, the presence of this criteria often challenges the ability for individuals who do not share the same religious beliefs to succeed.

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That being said, we have compiled a list of alternative takes on higher power! Find which higher power resonates with you most and apply that to your recovery. The good news is that you can choose to believe in anything that makes sense to you and gives your courage.


Some people choose to believe in nature. Nature consists of everything from the universe to here down on either. Whether you like to follow the stars of believe in a gust of wind both show a commanding force in our world. Take a step back and consider the power of seasons and the changes that occur over time. Nature is one option to use to guide your recovery through its ever changing lenses.

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Spiritual (but secular)

Although the concept of religion may not be the higher power everyone is comfortable with nor want to proceed with, it is okay to alter that notion. Believing in higher power as a spiritual force and not attached to any religion is a great way to cope with uncertainty. By understanding that “higher power” cannot necessarily be defined or described but still exists is an excellent method for channelling your thoughts. Having faith and an understanding that a spiritual power exists beside yourself will help you to relate with the concept.

Spiritual (but secular) - Addicaid addiction recovery

Your group

If you struggle to find a higher power outside of your recovery and your group, it is a good idea to channel that energy into the unity of the recovery group. The power of individuals coming together to heal one another with stories and experiences creates strength and hope. In witnessing changes in other people you can understand that that is a miracle in itself. Considering your recovery group as a “higher power” will help you see the true magic in how people can conquer addiction. It is a power you can see in believe in others and in yourself.

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The concept of higher power can be modified to become something that helps with your recovery. It should be a notion that highlights what you value and can represent and guide you through these changes. Remember, you have the freedom to define your own higher power in whatever way works for you. As long as your higher power is helping you understand that a power exists to keep you away from a drink, a drug, or a behavior you are moving in the right direction.



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